The Significance of Immanuel (as it relates to suffering)


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If you have ever been in a church about Christmastime there’s a great likelihood you have heard the word Immanuel. It is a staple teaching for the duration of Christmas sermons. But I do not feel we seriously know what it implies and the significance it holds. Particularly in terms of suffering. 

So let’s appear at what Immanuel implies and the significance it holds. 

The word Immanuel is a Hebrew name which implies “God with us.” It seems twice in the Old Testament (Isaiah 7:14, eight:eight) and as soon as in the New Testament (Matthew 1:23). At times in Matthew it is transliterated as “Emmanuel,” but the which means is the similar.  

In the Old Testament the name was provided to a kid as a sign that Judah would get relief from the attacks by Israel and Syria. The name symbolized that God was nevertheless with them, that he had not forgotten them, and that God would provide his folks. 

In the New Testament Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14 as it expands upon the significance of this name. Whilst the prophecy was fulfilled in the Old Testament, Jesus brings a a great deal higher fulfillment. The implication of Immanuel is that God would dwell amongst his folks. Up to this point the Israelites had noticed a form of this dwelling, but God was “contained” to the holy of holies. The believed that God would take on human flesh was beyond their wildest dreams. 

When Joseph heard this guarantee in his dream it changed every thing for him. His perception of God was shattered. But not only for him but the complete nation of Israel. And not just for Israel, but us now as effectively. Immanuel, God with us, modifications every thing. 

John 1:14 encapsulates the guarantee of Immanuel devoid of in fact applying the term. I like how Eugene Peterson’s The Message translates this verse: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” That is what Immanuel implies. That even in the worst of areas, God is with us. He moved into our neighborhood. 

The query we need to be asking is what type of neighborhood did Jesus move into? To recognize that we want to take a appear at the Jewish history. Nation following nation enter Israel’s promised land and conquered the nation. From the Syrians to the Persians and even Alexander the Excellent all had a turn in conquering and ruling more than Israel. But by far the worst was Antiochus IV Epiphanies. 

Antiochus wasn’t interested in just conquering Israel, he wanted to wipe out the Jewish religion. He overtook the temple and worshiped foreign Gods. He forced priests, by penalty of death, to consume pork. He performed sadistic reverse circumcisions. And most notoriously he entered the Holy of Holies (which is negative adequate) and sacrificed a pig on the altar. 

The Jews had adequate and ultimately they led a revolt that overthrew him. But their freedom was quick-lived. Quickly Rome marched in and squashed their rebellion and conquered Israel as soon as a lot more. This time Herod was appointed “King of the Jews” and he wasn’t a great deal much better. When he heard of a new king that had been born in Bethlehem he ordered all infant boys beneath two to be slaughtered.

This is the location, the neighborhood, that Jesus moved into. A location with a broken previous, a grieving present, and an uncertain future. This is God with us. God showed solidarity with his folks, and us, in the most intimate way doable: God’s son, Immanuel, moved into our neighborhood.

For what ever cause, God has selected to respond to the human predicament not by waving a magic wand to make evil and suffering disappear but by absorbing it in particular person. “The Word became flesh and produced his dwelling amongst us,” wrote John in the prologue to his Gospel. In the face of suffering, words do not suffice. We want one thing a lot more: the Word produced flesh, actual living proof that God has not abandoned us. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer place it, “Only a suffering God can enable.” The Query That Under no circumstances Goes Away by Philip Yancey

A lot of have asked the query why did God “_______”? Or why didn’t God do “________”? A lot of folks scour the Bible browsing for answers to life’s toughest concerns. The dilemma is the Bible is not seriously concerned with offering an answer, at least not the way we want it to. God’s response to these concerns: I’m with you. 

At 1st that could appear like a cop out response. Definitely, what diverse does the assurance of Immanuel seriously make? What does it matter that Jesus moved into the neighborhood? That does not answer our concerns. Superior folks nevertheless endure whilst evil folks seemingly prosper. But what Immanuel does do is show us that God is not a remote becoming that is uninterested and unaffected by what is taking place on earth. Rather he is a God that is prepared to practical experience it himself. On this cursed, fallen planet we all endure, even God. 

That is important. No other religion has a God that willingly suffers for his folks. A God that can so deeply and compassionately determine with his creation. 

All through Jesus’ life he encountered the type of suffering that you and I face on a regular basis. He by no means bothered to answer the query why or get in a philosophical/theological debate. Rather he reached out with compassion, brought healing, forgave sins, and eventually overcame death. 

His response to us now is the similar. 

Our response to Immanuel need to be each inward and outward. It need to not only impact us, but also these about us. 

Inwardly, we need to be reminded and encouraged that God is certainly with us. Immanuel is nevertheless accurate for us now. God didn’t just move into the 1st century Jewish neighborhood he desires to move into yours also. Not only is he with us, he is healing us. That is what faith asks us to do. Followers of Jesus should cling to the hope that a single day God will redeem all the discomfort and suffering on this planet. And till that day comes we know that God is with us. 

The second piece is in how we outwardly respond. As Jesus moved into our neighborhood and lived in our suffering we are named to do the similar for other people. Philip Yancey says it this way, When God appears absent, often it is up to us to show his presence. Usually the globe only knows the truth of Immanuel, “God with us,” simply because of his followers. As we hold onto the guarantee of Immanuel, we also should enable other people see the hope that is extended to them. We do not have to have answers for their situations, even Jesus didn’t offer you that. Rather be present. Present as God is present with us, we also are present with other people. 

No matter our situations, we have the guarantee of Immanuel, God with us. 


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